They perch on light poles and chastise you for parking too close. They harass your dog and break in to your trash bags.
They defy gravity with flight patterns that would make an F-15 pilot jealous. In courtship, they may fluff their lower feathers and offer, as biologist Rick Sinnott has called it, “the saggy-pants display.” If it’s their head feathers, you might see the “Batman” look.
They hunt with wolves. They save snacks for later. They make up to 30 distinct calls. When oil development moved to the North Slope, so did they. Thousands congregate in Anchorage every winter for ease of dining.
They are our noisy winter companions when many other birds have flown south.
The artwork featured above, by Anchorage artist Shara Dorris, captures one resident’s affection and familiarity with neighborhood ravens. Join me, host Kathleen McCoy, when Hometown, Alaska celebrates our cranky, clever, opinionated large black songbird – the raven.
- Lisa Pajot, USGS and Bird TLC
- Shara Dorris, artist and proprietor Octopus Ink Clothing
- Ravens, Cheetos and a PBS video (2:29) of a raven who fools a fisherman, New Hampshire public radio
- Ravens in the City, Doug O’Harra, Far North Science
- Ravens suited to urban life, Elizabeth Manning, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- Raven population growth creates headaches in Nevada, Las Vegas Journal Review
- Alaska’s Oil Field Ravens, Arctic Science Journeys Radio, Seagrant
- Ten Rowdy Ravens, artwork by Evon Zerbetz
- Raven Returns: The Story of Human Beings, Jack Dalton, Out North Theatre, Feb. 14-17
Four links below require Loussac library card to read:
- Season of the Raven – Ancient reputation for intelligence borne out each winter in urban Alaska, Anchorage Daily News, 2/25/2007
- Quality time is parking lot time for trickster, Anchorage Daily News, 4/4/2004
- Off-color bird faces raven racism, Anchorage Daily News, 2/28/1998
- To catch a raven wily and wary, this bird is no pigeon, Anchorage Daily News, 12/30/1994
- Ravens in Winter, Bernd Heinrich
- Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich
- The Way Winter Comes, ‘Telling Raven Stories,’ Sherry Simpson
- Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild, ‘Raven,’ Craig Childs
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HOST: Kathleen McCoy
LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, February 13, 2013. 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Alaska time)
REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, February 13, 2013. 7:00 – 8:00 pm (Alaska time)